As the Independent Coordinator of Transmission for Entergy Services Inc., Southwest Power Pool Inc. (SPP) facilitated an agreement between Cleco Power, Entergy Gulf States Louisiana and Lafayette Utilities System (LUS) to expand and upgrade the electric transmission infrastructure in south central Louisiana.

The joint project includes upgrades to certain existing electric facilities, as well as the construction of new substations, transmission lines and capacitor banks. The total estimated cost is approximately US$200 million. Each utility is responsible for various components of the project, which will not commence until each party obtains necessary approvals. All upgrades are expected to be completed between 2010 and 2012.

The project will take place in an area the utilities call the Acadiana Load Pocket, which is south of Highway 190 between the Atchafalaya Basin and Jennings, Louisiana. Upgrading the interconnected transmission system will increase capacity, reduce transmission constraints and improve the electric service for customers served by all three utilities.

“Most people probably don't think about transmission when they think of their electric service; however, the transmission system is the backbone of the entire electrical system,” said Dilek Samil, president and COO of Cleco Power. “Without adequate transmission, we can't serve our customers. Prudent investments like this joint project are essential to meeting customers' needs.”

Terry Huval, director of LUS, added, “Transmission constraints create higher levels of electric system reliability risk and can cause higher costs for electric customers. These needed transmission system improvements will result in a more reliable and cost-effective electric service for the customers of all electric service providers in the Acadiana area.”

This plan targets investments to key areas that will create and preserve good jobs at the same time as it is strengthening the ability of this economy to become more efficient and produce more opportunities for employment.

Clean, Efficient, American Energy: To put people back to work today and reduce our dependence on foreign oil tomorrow, we will strengthen efforts directed at doubling renewable energy production and renovate public buildings to make them more energy efficient.

  • $32 billion to transform the nation's energy transmission, distribution, and production systems by allowing for a smarter and better grid and focusing investment in renewable technology.

  • $16 billion to repair public housing and make key energy efficiency retrofits.

  • $6 billion to weatherize modest-income homes.